The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore T.D. will tomorrow (Monday March 11th, 2013) encourage European counterparts to re-focus their collective efforts on the jobs agenda and single market.
The Tánaiste will be addressing the General Affairs Council (GAC) which he is chairing throughout Ireland’s EU Presidency. The GAC is meeting ahead of the Spring European Council, which takes place later this week.
Speaking ahead of the Council, the Tánaiste said:
“We are seeing progress already during our Presidency: we have brokered agreements on new economic governance measures and new bank rules that will help bring a sense of stability. But we need to re-focus our collective efforts."
“We need a new focus on our jobs agenda and on the single market. We are committed as Presidency to driving forward this work – but we need the support and commitment of other member states.”
The main element of tomorrow’s General Affairs Council will be a political discussion with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on the EU’s economic and social policy agenda. The Tánaiste will present a synthesis report on the work of the Irish Presidency on the European Semester cycle of national economic policy coordination. Ministers will also look at the EU’s relations with strategic partners, with a particular focus on Russia.
As Chair of the General Affairs Council, the Tánaiste is also leading the negotiations on the next EU budget, the Multi-Annual Financial Framework. These talks will be entering a critical phase following the European Parliament’s resolution on the issue, due to be adopted this week in Strasbourg.
The Tánaiste said:
“We understand that the Parliament will wish to express concerns about the Multi-Annual Financial Framework but we hope they will also leave the door open to working with us to find agreement. As lead for the Presidency in these negotiations, I will be stepping up talks with the Parliament after they adopt their Resolution.”
While in Brussels, the Tánaiste will also be attending the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC). The Council will hear from Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi about the prospects for a political solution to the crisis in Syria.